Fred Dettwiller art

Fred Dettwiller in 2011

Fred Dettwiller — a Nashville businessman, pilot and Episcopal priest who owned alcoholic beverage distribution company DET Distributing — died Friday.

He was 89.

The Memphis native and Vanderbilt University graduate founded beer distributorship CarDett in Clarksville soon after finishing college. He would then take over DET Distributing in 1973.

Dettwiller served as chairman of the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission, the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority and the Tennessee Human Rights Commission. He also held the title of president with the Tennessee Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster and was active with the Tennessee State University Foundation Board and Tennesseans for Better Schools.

Dettwiller entered the priesthood in 2004 after a lifetime of involvement in the Episcopal Church as a lay leader. He began his church service as a deacon of Saint Phillips Church in Nashville, then pastor of the Church of Our Saviour in Gallatin, then as canon for special projects for the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee.

“Fred embodied qualities that I regard as essential to living a successful life,” Tom Sherrard, founding member, Sherrard Roe Voigt & Harbison, said in a release. “Fred was modest. He valued loyalty. He was someone you could count on. Fred was generous and open to forgiveness. He will be sorely missed.”

John Curley, DET Distributing chief operating officer, said Dettwiller (read more here) offered “incredible business acumen.”

“He was a true Southern gentleman who was deeply involved in important work outside of this business, including with the church and community,” Curley said. “He led this company with compassion and wisdom, and with those two traits you can create a very strong company, which he did. He was master at all he did.”

Dettwiller is survived by his wife, Kathryn, and a large family, including many grandchildren. A small, family-only service will be held soon, with a celebration of life service planned for an undisclosed date.